Sydney Harbour pavilion contest results revealed

21 December 2020
Credit: Peter Besley/Jessica Spresser
  • Peter Besley/Jessica Spresser
  • Peter Besley/Jessica Spresser

SPRESSER/Peter Besley


Sydney, NSW


Winning design celebrates land, sea and sky

Infrastructure NSW have announced the winners of the design competition for a permanent public pavilion in Sydney Harbour, Australia, which will form part of the Barangaroo urban renewal development. Opened in June 2020, the national contest received strong interest from Australian architects with over 170 entries, which were blind-assessed and narrowed down to five finalists. The design by SPRESSER and Peter Besley has taken first place with a concept celebrating the natural elements of land, sea and sky that characterise the location. 

The jury praised the winning entry for its relationship to its surroundings, situated at a pier on the southern edge of amphitheatre-style boardwalk Waterman’s Cove. Jessica Spresser, founder of SPRESSER, said: “We are very honoured that our scheme has been selected from such a strong field of contenders. Personally, this means a great deal as an emerging young architect. The organisers deserve great credit for putting together this blind-assessed, meritocratic competition.”

Approximately 380 sqm in area, the Pavilion consists of 123 columns, an 8m diameter oculus and a smaller free-standing enclosure containing a stage, servery and bar. The design is meant to create a democratic gathering space under a canopy, which acts as a meeting place and a site for events. The element of land is expressed through the curved canopy envelope that brings to mind the structure of neighbouring coves, while sky is revealed through the large oculus that punctures the canopy. Sea is experienced via the materiality of the surface, which is constructed from Sydney rock oysters mixed with white concrete.

Peter Besley stated: “In the context of a busy, bustling world city we wanted to make a work that was profoundly still. We hope it has an almost haunting intimacy, despite being a decidedly civic building at the same time.”

The Pavilion is due for completion in late 2022.

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

This competiton was first published by TenderStream on 06.06.2020 here

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